You’ve just graduated college (or grad school, in my case) and landed an awesome job in a brand new city. Congratulations! You’re going to be an adult!
Moving to a new city is exciting, and a huge step toward the next chapter of your life. But it is not without its difficulties and many, many steps.
Whether you’ve visited the city once or five or ten times before, or if you’ve never set foot on its streets, there’s a lot to consider before filling out “change of address” forms and handing over your old keys.
Here are six important things to consider when moving to a brand new city.
1. Where to Live
Every city has areas that are more desirable to live than other areas. Do you research on this ASAP so you know the best places to seek living arrangements. Look online, ask friends and family, and friends of friends and family, about their opinions and advice. Decide if you want to live downtown, close to it, or further outside. Visit different areas and apartment complexes and talk with leasing agents to learn more and get a feel for the community. If you prefer to research on the go, you can also use an app to find your apartment.
Don’t be afraid to ask locals when you’re out and about, too. When you go shopping or out to eat, ask your waiter, waitress or salesperson for their advice. More often than not, they’re pretty familiar with the area and will guide you in the right direction.
Related: How to Find the Perfect Apartment
Not all bank chains have locations in every city in the country, even if it is a national chain. When you visit your new city, pay attention to what banks are available and convenient. You may have to use a new bank if your current bank isn’t popular or convenient in your new city. It’s usually not difficult to switch, but it’s important to know if this will be necessary.
Related: Four Financial Things to Consider Before Relocating for Work
3. Cable & Utilities Providers
Again, many areas offer different providers for cable and utilities. If there’s more than one, contact each and learn about the different packages and services they offer. This will help you find a package that best fits your needs and the ever-important budget. Most telecommunications companies offer a cable/Internet/phone bundle, which is usually a great deal. I don’t use a “regular” phone a lot, but it is nice to have the option when or if I need it.
4. Proximity to Regular Shopping
My mom and I have our own “requirements” as for what we need and want to have close by. For me, it’s a good grocery store, Target and Chick-Fil-A, within a 10-12-minute drive. I highly recommend that you create your own “requirements” for what you want and/or need within a reasonably short drive (or walk, or bike ride, or public-transport-ride) from your new home. If you think you’ll shop at certain places often–once a week or once every two weeks–having it close by will make life much easier.
If you’re a bulk shopper, maybe consider finding a membership club within a convenient drive. It doesn’t have to be as convenient as your regular grocery store, but having a Sam’s, Costco or BJ’s nearby will help, too.
Related: 5 Things To Know Before You Move into Your First Apartment
5. Proximity to Other Important Places
If you’re moving for a job, being close to work should be a high priority. While a 10-minute commute may not be possible, you can find and create a commute that works for you.
Also consider how far you’ll be from medical care, should you need it. Is there an urgent care center nearby, or at least a Minute Clinic? What about a pharmacy for any medications? Keep places like a hospital or car dealership/mechanic in mind when planning a move, too.
6. How to Meet People and Make Friends
If you’re moving to a city where you know absolutely no one, meeting people and making friends can seem extremely daunting. But, just like they tell you in high school and college, getting involved will introduce you to a world of new people! Join a church or a gym, take a class, attend a meetup or find some other social activity. Don’t forget to check out if your college has an alumni chapter in your new city. That’s a great way to meet people, and you have a built-in common interest: your college!
Related: New Town, New Life: Making Friends Without College
Moving can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Approach it in phases and take it a day at a time. Soon enough, you’ll settle into your new city and it will feel like home.